Posts Tagged ‘Douglas Wolk’

Wolk’s READING COMICS Revisited: Part Two


Thursday, September 23, 2010

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Douglas Wolk disguised as Scott McCloud

Since Jeet has requested it, here is a reprint of my review of Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics. This essay was originally published in the third print issue of Comics Comics, from June 2007. Following Jeet’s example, after the review, I have added a few brief notes.

For Nerds’ Eyes Only

Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean
Douglas Wolk
Da Capo Press, $22.95

Even now, with comic books and “graphic novels” finally cracking through the art/literary establishment glass ceiling, you can count the number of intelligent, knowledgeable American comics critics who actually know how to write on two hands (maybe add a foot in there, too, if you’re feeling generous). In any fair version of that list, Douglas Wolk would certainly be one of the fingers or toes. Unlike a lot of writers about comics, Wolk is a professional, meaning he gets paid to write, and he writes about comics because he wants to, not because it’s all he knows; he’s not just an entitled fan who feels the need to tell you the long, sorry, and interminable story of how sad he is that he doesn’t like reading Sandman as much as he did when he was thirteen years old. (more…)

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Wolk’s Reading Comics Revisited


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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Wolk's Reading Comics

A few of my older reviews for various newspapers are no longer easily available. So to give them a somewhat more permanent home, I’m going to be posting them here, sometimes with a few words of after-thoughts.

Below is my review of Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics, from the Globe and Mail, July 21, 2007. After the review, I have a post-script written now.


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Bodyworld review


Monday, July 19, 2010

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Our own Dash Shaw continues to pile up the good notices. Bodyworld was reviewed over at The Grey Lady, by Mr. Douglas Wolk. Check it out, True Believers, check it out…

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A Journal of the Plague Year


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

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As a lot of you probably already know, great writer-about-comics Jeet Heer recently got into a small disagreement with another great writer-about-comics, Michael Chabon, in response to a piece Heer wrote about David Hajdu‘s new cultural history of the crusade against violent comics, The Ten-Cent Plague. I don’t have too much to say about it, other than that in his Slate article, and in several other recent pieces, Heer has been making a worthy attempt to depict the complexity of the 1950s comic-book scare. (That second link, a discussion between Heer and Fredric Wertham biographer Bart Beaty, is particularly interesting.)

I wish the same could be said of the ongoing debate about the book between Hajdu and Douglas Wolk at The New Republic (to which both are frequent contributors). Wolk’s a smart guy, and as evidenced by the Jeet Heer links above, there’s a lot of potentially meaty topics to discuss in Hajdu’s book, so why waste this opportunity with a lot of talk about how comic books are too taken seriously!? Hajdu’s answers aren’t particularly enlightening, but I can’t really blame him after Wolk starts with that bizarre hobbyhorse tangent inspired by a stray Newsarama (!) interview question that has little or nothing to do with the subject of Hajdu’s book. Can we ever lay off this tired “are comics sufficiently recognized?” stuff? Anyway, the exchange isn’t over yet, so there’s time for things to get more cogent. It would be great if Wolk followed up on some of the questions obviously posed by Heer and Beaty’s writings.

UPDATE: The second round of questions is up, and it’s really not much better. I’m curious to see if Hajdu can make more sense out of them than I can. (And Bernie Krigstein‘s artistic accomplishments should be judged only by how many of his stories are famous? Really?) Oh well.

UPDATE II: Since Tom Spurgeon linked to this post this morning calling these comments “unkind”, I wanted to point out that I have found Wolk to be a very likeable person in all of my encounters with him — he very generously gave me advice before a panel I moderated at SPX (something I’d never done before), for example. This is simply meant to be friendly argument. That may not need saying, but I’m weak and can’t help myself. (I like Tom, too. I like everybody!) All the same, I really think that Wolk could (and should) have done a better job with this.

UPDATE III: In the final round, Hajdu gives it the old college try, and quite rightly defends Krigstein, but understandably gives up on answering Wolk’s weirdest question: “If there hadn’t been a conflict over morality in entertainment going on, how do you think the comic books of the ’50s might have been received at the time?” That one stumps me, too. Actually, upon further reflection, it doesn’t: I’d say about the same, but with fewer bonfires.

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PictureBox in Publishers Weekly


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

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Douglas Wolk profiles Dan and PictureBox in PWCW, and Dan doesn’t forget to plump for CC:

PictureBox is still publishing Comics Comics, which Nadel calls “our retarded attempt at a magazine about comics”—the third issue, due imminently, includes an interview with Guy Davis by Sammy Harkham.

Now that’s marketing genius in action. They come for the “retarded”, and they stay for the … well, I guess we have to work on the second part.

There’s a lot more in there about Dan’s other PictureBox stuff, but whatever.

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Ninja Rules


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

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The fine reception for Brian Chippendale’s Ninja continues with this excellent piece in Salon by Douglas Wolk.

Check it out.

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